A Thousand Cuts


2020 Season

Nowhere is the erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. In 2016, he was elected president, promising violence with his declared “war on drugs” that has killed thousands of Filipinos. Rappler, a major Philippines online news site, investigated and uncovered countless government-sanctioned murders of primarily poor people accused of using or selling illegal drugs. In an attempt to suppress independent reporting on mounting human rights abuses, Duterte proceeds to unleash a powerful disinformation campaign that spreads like wildfire on social media, and targets journalists with arrests, threats, and harassment. In this searing film, we follow prominent journalist Maria Ressa as she puts the tools of the free press — and her own freedom — on the line in defense of truth and democracy.

Ramona S. Diaz
Country of Production: 
Philippines and United States
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Ramona S. Diaz
Director / Writer / Co Editor / Producer

Ramona S. Diaz is an award-winning Asian American filmmaker whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, Tribeca, the Viennale, IDFA, and many other top-tier film festivals. All of Ramona's feature-length films—Imelda (2004), The Learning (2011), Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012) and her latest film, Motherland (2017)—have been broadcast on PBS, on either the POV or Independent Lens series. Motherland won an award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and had its international premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best Documentary, a Peabody Award, and a Gaward Urian Award from the Filipino Film Critics.